Why you should fill in the blanks.

We’re all speaking at the same level 

Based on the similar skills hypothesis, relationships are usually much stronger when both members have the same level of verbal sophistication. In other words - if we’re all answering the same question within the same format, we’re more likely to be speaking at the same level, which helps us grow closer!

It’s easier to form the right interpretation

In conversations, we’re constantly creating mental pictures based on what the other person is saying. These pictures can be interpreted differently, which gets in the way of truly understanding each other. When the conversation is framed the exact same way, the mental pictures we create are more likely to be interpreted similarly.

It takes pressure off of social interactions

Having the same blanks to fill helps us level the playing ground and take off some of the pressure. Knowing that everyone has to answer the same questions gives us a fresh chance to be authentic and develop a positive self-image.

Imagination is important at any age. Here are 5 reasons why:

1. It lets us be like children again

Some of the strongest, most visceral friendships are forged at a young age, building sand castles and whispering with imaginary friends in the dark. As adults accessing the imagination muscle with friends allows us to explore questions and ideas that have little relevance in oh-so-serious-real-life, but a magical impact on our connection with each other.

2. It is good for our mental health

Technology makes it easy to avoid boredom, but boredom leads to quiet moments and day-dreaming. Without these vacations of the mind, we can get caught in a cycle. Imagination pushes the limits of what’s possible and gets us out of our mental hamster wheels. There’s a reason why we love fantasy worlds in books, tv shows, movies, and video games - it’s fun to escape the moment and get lost in someone’s wild, wacky imagination. 

3. It infuses us with energy

Imagination gets the creative juices flowing. Too busy for it? Think again. Imagination allows the overworked part of your brain to rest and gives your creative side a new outlet. Let yourself have an imagination session and be open to where it takes you! Re-invent your relationships as you dream together.

4. It helps us create a better future

Imagination is an open road and the sky's the limit. You never know where it will lead you, and bringing others in on the fun can result in some incredible ideas. Dare to color outside the lines, dance on the ceiling, and reach just a little bit further. 

5. It is just magical, wondrous and sublime

It’s every delicious word out there. So get to dreaming!

5 questions to ask yourself and others at the end of every week.

Engaging in weekly reflection is a great way to evaluate your priorities, stay present, and plan for the future. Here are 5 questions that you can ask at the end of the week:

What were your expectations?

Think about what you expected from this week, and compare those expectations to the events that took place. Write down moments that surprised you, and how you reacted to those surprises.

What were your goals?

Evaluate any goals you set for this week, and think about how you approached them. Did you successfully accomplish these goals? If not, how will you be more prepared to approach your goals next week?

How did you spend your time?

Reflect on the various buckets of your life (family, work, health, etc…) and recall how much time you spent on each bucket. Then, try to connect these buckets with your wellbeing. Which experiences left you feeling full of life, and which did the opposite?

What did you discover?

Life is made up of beautiful discoveries, and we should keep our eyes open to the lessons around us. What is something you discovered this week? A new fact, an effective method, something new about a friend, a beautiful flower?

What’s next?

With this reflection in mind, make your plans for next week. What are your expectations and goals for the week ahead? How do you want to divide your time? What, if anything, will you do differently?

Answer these questions in your journal each week, and look back to see how your priorities and habits change over time.

P.S. - These questions make for great family dinner conversations as well!

Practicing gratitude should be a social experience. Here’s why:

Engaging in healthy habits doesn’t have to be a solo activity. Building a gratitude practice alongside your friends, family, love, or co-workers has incredible benefits! Here are some reasons why thanking should be a social experience:

Your relationships will strengthen.

Research shows that practicing gratitude as a group can strengthen relationships, promote prosocial behaviors, and even increase job satisfaction.

You’re more motivated to stick to a routine.

People practice gratitude so that they become more appreciative and present over time. Scientists found that people who write down what they’re grateful for on a weekly basis felt better about their lives in general, and felt more positive about their upcoming weeks. However, habits can only be built through the act of repetition. 

Unfortunately, anything that requires consistency can get really hard to do! If you commit to others when working towards a goal, you’re 65% more likely to achieve it, according to The American Society of Training and Development (ASTD). Here’s the real catch: If you have a set date with someone or a group, your chance of success increases by 95%! 

You’re more likely to catch and spread gratefulness.

That’s right! Gratefulness is contagious. Research shows that grateful people are more likely to help others, which results in even more gratitude and an awesome domino effect of helpful behavior. 

4 Ways To Mix Up Your Gratitude Practice

Building the habit of gratitude is good for us, but the idea of continuously writing a list of what we’re grateful for can get daunting. Our entries can become repetitive, and it can be hard to think out of the box. Here are some ways to keep your practice fresh!

Get specific.

Embrace tiny details. Instead of being grateful for your co-worker, write down something specific that they did to make you feel this gratitude. Not only does this mix up your journaling, but over time you’ll find yourself observing tiny moments and details more and more.

Write a letter.

If you’re super grateful for someone this week, write them a letter that explains why you are so grateful (with bonus feel-good points if you read it out loud to them)! If you’re up for the challenge, here is a step-by-step guide for delivering a gratitude letter, written by Dr. Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology himself.

Collect evidence.

Instead of just writing a list, collect photos or physical evidence of something you appreciate. Having something tangible can ground your appreciation in reality, and make that moment easier to remember. (Also, not to plug Longwalks, but we keep your weekly gratitude photos for you in a beautiful collection… just saying).

Dig deeper.

Research suggests that we’re much more likely to truly feel gratitude when we dig deeper. Try pushing past what you’re grateful for by pondering what has happened in your life to grant you that experience. For example, let’s say you’re grateful for the weather. What has happened in your life that allows you to experience this weather? Perhaps you were able to move away to a college, which gave you friends in this city, who helped you find a job here, so you could afford to live here, where the weather is sunny.

A week on Longwalks.

Each week, we offer an optional intention to guide your journaling. Approaching our journal with a specific intention in mind helps us be more mindful, deliberate, and centered.

Sundays: Reflection.

Reflection is one of the most underused yet powerful tools for success.
Richard Carlson

Every Sunday, we fill in the blanks to reveals different aspects of ourselves and life.

Mondays: Imagination.

Imagination is everything. It is the preview of life's coming attractions.
Albert Einstein

Every Monday, let your imagination run wild. Learn new things about yourself and your friends with open-ended prompts.

Tuesdays: Capture.

Unleash your love for lists every Tuesday on Longwalks. Capture your thoughts around topics you rarely think about.

Wednesday: Speak your truth.

Speaking your truth is the most powerful tool we all have.
Oprah Winfrey

Wednesdays are a chance to share our unique beliefs and values.

Thursday: Evaluate.

You must choose! Choosing between limited options help us zoom in and get to know our friends better.

Friday: Create.

Every Friday, put your own words into a famous quote and make it your own. Voila! Your own personal affirmation.

Saturday: Be Grateful.

What do you appreciate about this week? Pictures speak a thousand words, and we hope the ones you share are a celebration of your amazing life.